Bird Dog & Retriever News

October / November 2017 issue page 5

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Eyes, Ears, and Mouth
By Sid Gustafson DVM

Eye Trouble
Pink Eye; Conjunctivitis; Sore Eye, Droopy Eye
Causes: Exposure to unaccustomed sun, dust, wind, and snow. Allergies to pollens, smoke, and plant irritants. Foreign bodies in the eye. Infectious disease (kennel cough, distemper, pinkeye, many others).
Signs: Redness and swelling of the sclera (the white of the eyeball) and the conjunctival membranes (the tissue under the eyelids). Squinting, scratching at the eyes, running the head along the ground or other surfaces in an attempt to get relief.
Prevention: Avoidance of eye irritation, regular checkups and appropriate Bordetella immunizations where indicated. Avoid conditions that threaten to injure the eyes. Ease up on letting the dog hang his head out the window, please. Quit running him through those dusty, weedy areas. Eye protection gear.
Treatment: Prevent your dog from further irritating his eyes. Avoid direct sunlight. Dogs can cause significant further injury to their eyes by rubbing their eyes along the ground or scratching at their eyes with their paws. Avoid this by leashing your dog and discouraging this behavior. Bright sun reflected off of snow can cause snow blindness and eye inflammation. Avoid extended periods of unaccustomed bright sun, especially when snow is on the ground.
Flush the eye with an eye-irrigating rinse, an isotonic, buffered solution formulated specifically for flushing eyes, such as sterile eye wash. Human products are often acceptable. Flushing and rinsing the eye most often requires restraint. Direct a gentle stream under the upper and lower eyelids, as well as under the third eyelid in the inside corner of the eye. You also may carefully apply eye ointments dispensed by your veterinarian. If the cornea has been damaged, do not apply an eye ointment containing cortisone (an ingredient that often ends with the suffix-one), as its use can delay or impair healing.
When eye issues are present, carefully examine under the eyelids, and, by pressing under the eye, examine the third eyelid for the presence of foreign bodies such as grass seeds dirt.
You can fashion a see-through head wrap out of wrapping gauze to protect the affected eye from sun and wind. Avoid exposing the dog to dust, irritants, wind, low, and especially bright sunlight. Remove allergens and irritants from the environment and haircoat. Sometimes weeds and burrs that stick in the hair scratch the eyes.
Eye Trauma
Causes: Corneal abrasions and ulcers, foreign bodies in the eye, chemical or plant irritants, skunk spray. Self-mutilation by the dog in an attempt to relieve eye pain.
Signs: Squinting, rubbing, pawing, and fretting about the eye, causing more irritation in doing so. Foreign bodies under the eyelids and under the third eyelid.
Corneal cloudiness follows corneal abrasions, but the opacity usually takes at least a day to develop. A normal cornea is clear and smooth as glass.
Prevention: Avoid travel in eye-stabbing scenarios. Prevent your dog from digging at his eyes. Avoid aggressive felines.
Treatment: Corneal injuries and acquired defects benefit greatly from prompt veterinary care, lessening the likelihood of permanent corneal scarring.
Remove loose foreign bodies by restraining the dog and washing out the foreign body with eyewash. Use a wet cotton swab to lure out debris that will not flush. Do not use tweezers or forceps or other instruments that could impale or further damage the eye if the dog flinches.
Avoid further irritation (tall grass or weeds, wind, dust) and keep your dog shaded from direct sunlight. Use care and good judgment before patching or wrapping an eye. Reserve wrapping for severely injured eyes and those requiring direct pressure to control bleeding or expulsion of the eye or eye contents. If wrapping is necessary, flush lightly, place sterile gauze over the eye, and place the wrap loosely over head and under the jaw. Seek medical attention.
Watery, Weepy Eyes
Causes: Allergies, infections, or mild trauma. Dental disease. Poor eyelid conformation, such as droopy eyes (ectropion) that collect dust and debris or turned-in eyelids (entropion) where the eyelashes rub and irritate the cornea. Excessive tearing or gooping of the eyes can signal the onset of viral diseases, allergies, pinkeye bacterial infection, and other irritating eye conditions.
Signs: Wetness about the eyes, frequent blinking, squinting, and pawing at the eyes.
Prevention: Avoid eye irritants such as dust, pollinating plants, and wind. Regular checkups and eye examinations.
Treatment: Flush the eye with eyewash. In the case of poor eyelid conformation, surgery may be necessary.
Cherry Eye
The immune tonsil-like lymphoid tissue underneath the third eyelid becomes inflamed. This condition is common in spaniels, but it is not limited to those breeds.
Causes: Chronic irritation or infection. Dental disease of the teeth below the eye.
Signs: Third eyelid noticeably inflamed, exhibiting a cherry-like appearance on the inside of the eye next to the nose.
Prevention: Avoid activities, allergens, smokes, and dry plants that threaten to irritate reactive eyes. Premedicate the eyes as directed by your veterinarian before venturing outdoors. Make sure your dog's teeth are as white and clean as yours, and that dental disease is not present. Bad breath is abnormal, and often indicates dental disease.
Treatment: Flush the eye and make certain there is no foreign body under the third eyelid. Avoid further eye irritation. Cases commonly recur and require veterinary treatment. Surgical removal of the lymphoid tissue is often effective, but the validity of the procedure is debated by some veterinary ophthalmologists. Make sure dental disease is resolved if it is present.
Caution: In most cases foreign bodies I that impale the eyeball should be left in place while the dog is immediately transported to a veterinarian. Wrapping, or attempting to wrap the eye offer causes further trauma. Just get to the doctor.
Ear Problems
Ear Canal Problems
Causes: Ear infection (yeast, bacteria), foreign bodies in ear canal (awns, seeds), ear mites, water in the ear, lack of ventilation (excessive hair under the ear flaps and around the ear), hair growing and accumulating in the ear canal.
Narrow or restrictive ear canal anatomy. Allergies of all types, especially food allergies. Hypothyroidism and other internal medical disorders. Cheap treats, milk bones, and inappropriate foods often incite ear inflammation, so avoid these.
Signs: Head shaking and ear scratching. Dirty, smelly, red ear canals. Discharge in the ear canal that collects I on the hair about the ears. The dog may tilt his head to the side of the affected ear. Awns (grass seeds) in the surrounding hair.
Prevention: Ear yeast and bacteria prefer dark, moist environments. Attempt to keep your dog's ears ventilated, cleaned, and dry. Avoid letting him swim. Clip the hair from under the ear and around the ear canal opening so the hair does not attract awns or prevent good ventilation. Frequent hair removal and ear cleaning prevent ear infections. Have recurrent or unremitting ear problems addressed by your dog's doctor.

Avoid feeding inexpensive dog food.
Treatment: Carefully remove debris with Q-tips. Use extreme care to avoid pushing hair, gunk, or foreign bodies down into the ear canal. Attempt to get around the debris before drawing it out of the ear.
Flush the ear canal with ear wash or clean water. Do not use full strength alcohol or hydrogen peroxide. Medicate with an ear ointment as prescribed by your veterinarian. If the condition worsens or is unresponsive to cleaning, veterinary attention is necessary — the sooner the better.
If the ears are excessively painful, anti-inflammatory medication dispensed by your veterinarian will reduce swelling and pain, allowing better cleaning after it has taken effect. Repeat cleanings are often necessary, providing the procedure does not cause further irritation. Veterinary care is often needed to resolve ear infections and to prevent them from recurring in the future.
Serious Middle and Inner Ear Infections
More serious and deeper ear infections or injuries affect the vestibular apparatus of the middle ear causing balance disorders. A head tilt towards the affected ear can occur with a middle or inner ear infection. Loss of balance and difficulty walking may indicate serious, deep-seated ear disorders. Immediately seek a veterinarian's care if these serious signs are present.
Swollen Ear Flaps (Aural Hematomas)
Causes: Excessive head shaking due to a foreign body or infection of the ear canal. Trauma, such as dog-fight bite. Swelling results from a broken blood vessel between the skin and ear cartilage.
Signs: Bulges or swelling in the earflaps, often oblong, golf-ball size or larger, sometimes fluctuant, sometimes hard.
Prevention: Prevent ear infections and head shaking. Always examine the ear canal in cases of head shaking or unusual body odor.
Treatment: Resolve the ear irritation or infection as described above to stop the cause of the head shaking.
To prevent further swelling, wrap the ear to the head to stop internal bleeding and prevent additional damage from head shaking. See your veterinarian.


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Copyrights Bird Dog & Retriever News November 2017
Do not reproduce or retransmit in any form, and we surf the web, we'll find you.
Maintained by Dennis Guldan e-mail
Bird Dog & Retriever News, PO Box 120089, New Brighton, MN 55112,
Phone 612-868-9169 Adv deadline 1st of the month prior to the issue.